Eurovision Song Contest ‘promises to be unlike any other’ as BBC unveils plans

The BBC have promised a Eurovision Song Contest "unlike any other" as plans for the event were unveiled.

Plans for the competition were announced today (April 19, 2023) at a media launch, which took place at the British Music Experience in Liverpool – who were announced as the UK's host city.

For the first time since 1998, the United Kingdom will play host to the 2023 contest and will do so on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine who are unable to host due to the ongoing war.

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The BBC announced that this year's Eurovision Song Contest "promises to be unlike any other for audiences in the UK," – with a whole host of content set to air across the broadcaster, along with a variety of performances set to take place as part of the event itself.

Grand-final 'first'

Announcements today included the news that the Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals and Grand Final will be broadcast for the first time ever on BBC One and IPlayer.

In previous years, the Semi-Finals were broadcast on BBC Three, while the Grand Final was broadcast on BBC Two.

The Semi-Finals will be held on May 9 and May 11, while the Grand Final will be held on Saturday May 13, with all events set to take place at Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena.

BBC Radio and BBC Sounds will also become the home of Eurovision, with Radio 2 broadcasting the semi-finals for the first time ever, as Rylan and Scott Mills take to the airwaves to provide commentary on the network for the grand final.

Speaking ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, Rylan said: "Eurovision is my favourite time of the year, I cannot wait! And I’m so excited and absolutely buzzing to be hosting the Eurovision Grand Final on Radio 2, the biggest and best music event in the world, with my partner-in-crime Scott Mills.

"We can’t wait to bring listeners closer to the action than ever before, with all the fun, excitement and backstage gossip from what promises to be an unforgettable night."

Alesha Dixon, actress Hannah Waddingham, Ukranian singer-songwriter Julia Sanina and Graham Norton will take on hosting duties onstage too for the Grand Final.

Graham Norton is still providing the commentary

An iconic part of the Eurovision Song Contest is the commentary provided by Graham Norton, who took over in the role from the late, great Sir Terry Wogan.

Although Graham has been announced as a host for the Grand Final, he will still be providing commentary on the night too – much to the delight of viewers.

He and TV legend Mel Giedroyc will step into the commentary box for the grand final, with Graham popping up during the Semi-Finals too.

Graham and Ukrainian broadcaster Timur Miroshnychenko will also feature in a segment during Semi-Final Two, which will see them check in with the hosts live and discuss the build up to the Grand Final.

Timur will also be popping up during the live shows, as he brings his expert commentary to Ukrainian audiences from his commentary box in the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool.

United by Music

All three live shows will deliver emotive, exciting and unforgettable moments that underline this year's contest slogan: United by Music.

Semi-final One will open with film celebrating host city Liverpool and last year's winner's Ukraine.

As part of the film, audiences will see a young Liverpudlian boy travel across the city telling his family, friends, neighbours (and some special guests) that the world’s greatest music competition is arriving in his hometown.

The film ends live in the arena with host Julia Sanina performing Маяк by her band The Hardkiss. Translating from the Ukrainian for "Lighthouse", the performance – forming part of an incredibly powerful opening act – will symbolise in many ways how the UK is "United by Music" with Ukraine through the hosting the 2023 Contest on behalf of the 2022 winners.

As part of Semi-Final One, Ukranian singer Aloysha – who represented Ukraine in 2010 – will collaborate with X-Factor star and Liverpool born Rebecca Ferguson.

Their performance will tell a story of hope, courage and support for the people of Ukraine from across the world.

The interval performance will also feature music superstar Rita Ora, who will perform a medley of some of her biggest hits, as well as delivering a world exclusive of her brand-new single Praising You.

Semi-Final Two will include a spoken word piece that powerfully takes everyone through the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.

There will also be a performance called 'Music Unites Generations' during the interval, which explores the connection between generations of Ukranians and the music they love.

Further interval performances include 'Be Who You Wanna Be', which celebrates how Eurovision is a place for everyone.

The performance will include three drag performers who will deliver a jaw-dropping routine of high-end pop performances and a medley of songs with a troupe of dancers.

Speaking about the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, Kate Phillips, BBC Director of Unscripted said: "We couldn't be more proud and excited to give our audiences such a huge array of world class Eurovision content.

"It's an honour for the BBC to host the show on behalf of Ukraine, and we're committed to do them proud. The level of collaboration and coordination across so much of the output is truly amazing. Let the Eurovision Song Contest begin!"

Grand final performances

The grand final, which will take place at Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena on Saturday May 13, 2023 will feature a performance by last year's winners Kalush Orchestra, who will deliver a powerful performance titled 'Voices of a New Generation,' including their Eurovision Song Contest 2023 winning song Stefania.

Past Ukranian Eurovision contestants will also perform on the stage including Jamala, GO_A, Tina Karol and Verka Serducha, along with a set by the UK's Sam Ryder who landed huge success at the contest last year with his hit record Spaceman.

The final interval act, called 'The Liverpool Song Book' will also bring together iconic Eurovision acts including Israel's Netta, Italy's Mahmood, Iceland's Daði Freyr, Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands,Sweden's Cornelia Jakobs and Liverpool's very own Sonia, to celebrate the host city's incredible contribution to the world of music.

Fans can catch all the action from the Turquoise Carpet

Coverage of the Turquoise Carpet Opening Ceremony will be broadcast on YouTube on Sunday May 7, with highlights airing on BBC One and BBC IPlayer the following evening.

The event will introduce viewers to the upcoming week of festivities, with Ukrainian broadcaster Timur Miroshnychenko and presenter Sam Quek hosting all the action from the event.

They will be on hand to get to know the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 contestants, as well as catching all the backstage gossip from the stars.

EastEnders makes an appearance

EastEnders Sonia Fowler star Natalie Cassidy will join Eurovision commentator and radio DJ Scott Mills for a new programme called Get Your Eurovision On, which will celebrate the joy, unity and music of the Song Contest.

Set to air on BBC IPlayer during Eurovision week between May 7 – 13, 2023, Get Your Eurovision On will look back on some of the contest's iconic performances, incredible staging, memorable moments and costumes.

There is an extra treat for soap fans too, as it has been revealed that a Eurovision icon is set to step foot on Albert Square in EastEnders – although no further details of who the star could be have been released at this stage.

There's plenty of Eurovision Content to look forward to

Along with the three live shows, the BBC has planned a whole host of Eurovision themed content that will air on the broadcaster and BBC IPlayer.

This includes Eurovision Welcomes The World, which be broadcast on May 8 and sees hosts Rylan and Liverpool born actress Sunetra Sarker as they access the Turquoise Carpet – as well as sharing highlights from the National Lottery's Big Eurovision Welcome and performances from the city.

The same night will see Jason Manford and singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes host Eurovision Calling: Jason and Chelcee's Ultimate Guide.

The programme will see the pair explore the Eurovision Song Contest, using a mix of archive footage and interviews with fans, experts and competitors – including Sam Ryder, Katrina Leskanich from Katrina and the Waves – as well as this year's UK entrant Mae Muller.

On May 12, Eurovision: Everyone's A Winner will see X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing star Fleur East present a special Top 20 Eurovision Countdown of songs that missed out on the trophy but when on to become music classics.

That's not all, as cinemas across the UK are set to broadcast the Grand Final for the first time – with further events celebrating the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in cities throughout the week.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be broadcast live from Liverpool on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. Semi-Final 1 is broadcast Tuesday 9 May at 8pm, Semi-Final 2 is broadcast Thursday 11 May at 8pm, and the Grand Final is broadcast on Saturday 13 May at 8pm.


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